Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Review of "The Kid Coach," by Fred Bowen

Review of

The Kid Coach, by Fred Bowen, ISBN 9781561455065

Five out of five stars

 When this story opens, the Tigers baseball team that Scott plays on has a problem. Coach Skelly has taken on new job responsibilities and can no longer coach the team, he quits before their first game. When a call goes out for any other adult to take the position, there are no takers. Scott is a natural leader of the group of players (there are girls on the team) and so in a last-ditch effort to have a season, Scott offers to become the coach, citing the history of player-managers in major league baseball. With no other alternatives, he takes the position.  

 At first, the team loses, but then Scott has a conversation with Benny the Brain, one of the players on the team. As his nickname suggests, Benny is very good at math (not so much at baseball) and he informs Scott of the data he has collected about the team, in essence he is a sabermetrician. Using this data, Scott makes major changes in positioning and tactics and the team starts winning. When it is over, they managed to have a winning season.

 This is a great story because it is plausible in the sense that sabermetrics is a very real area of data collection, analysis and application and it can be applied even at the youth level. Most major league teams now collect such data and before handhelds, it was a common sight to see a manager flipping through the pages of a three-ring binder when a decision needed to be made.

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